The Thunder lost a cruel one in Game 2, stringing out their emotions and ours. Falling behind early, their task was a challenge but not monumental; they had the ability to chip away at the Heat's lead. Unfortunately they made little headway in quarters 2 & 3, so in the end they had less than a quarter to make things right. They almost did, but almost doing it is not enough when the first 3 quarters were so bad.
In my recap I gave the Thunder's overall effort a charitable "C+ basketball with a healthy dose of emotion," and I stand by that grade. It also makes me realize that just a little bit more of "B- basketball" probably would have spelled a Game 2 win. Alas.
32 points on 12-22 shooting, 4-10 from 3-point range, 3 REB, 1 AST, 2 ST, 1 BL, 2 TO, 5 fouls
27 points on 10-26 shooting, 8 REB, 7 AST, 1 ST, 2 TO
21 points on 7-11 shooting, 4 REB, 2 AST, 1 ST, 2 TO
More grades after the jump.
7 points on 2-5 shooting, 4 REB, 1 AST, 5 BL
||Ibaka's offensive rebounds are something we really have to count on this series to give an extra boost to our offense. And his offense period is something we have to count on this series, especially with Perkins failing to get down low. If he could challenge Bosh in the post and get out for a few mid-range shots, the Thunder would really be in business. But last night, he didn't do either of those things. The blocks were there, but I feel like he can be a much more complete player.|
||Serge Ibaka supporters will look at his stat line and argue that his 5 blocks were critical in helping OKC protect the rim, and they would be right to a certain extent. Ibaka had some amazing blocks, including this one, captured on camera. While the blocks are great, Ibaka continued to struggle in securing defensive rebounds, grabbing only 4 in the game. Meanwhile, his power forward counterpart Chris Bosh grabbed 15 total, and 7 on the offensive end. Bosh's activity on the glass should be a major cause for concern, because for the most part OKC has done well on the defensive end. They cannot afford Bosh to be giving the Heat 7 extra shots at the rim per game. I'd love to see Ibaka get back into the offensive groove like in Game 1, but his boxing out of Bosh on the glass is much more imperative now.|
2 points on 1-5 shooting, 1 REB, 2 ST
4 points on 1-5 shooting, 8 REB, 1 BL, 3 TO
||He got the boards, but he basically is no threat on offense without another post presence on the floor. Like JA noted below, it's moreso due to Brooks' lineup management than anything else, but without another big guy on the floor, Perkins will never get space down low, and he'll never egg on his defender far enough out to get a easy roll to the basket for a score.|
|Sherman's Grade||Kendrick Perkins' performance probably had more to do with Brooks' bungling the line-up than anything else. As people like Zach Lowe have noted, the Thunder get into serious trouble when they try to go 2-large against the Heat, who are in small-ball mode 85% of the time. Perkins can be effective if he's the only guy out there, but if it is he and either Ibaka or Collison, the Thunder's offense tends to struggle. His rebounding is useful though, and still better than Ibaka's performance.|
3 points on 1-5 shooting, 5 REB, 2 AST, 2 ST, 2 BL, 1 TO
0 points, 3 REB, 1 AST, 1 ST in only 15 minutes
||I'm pretty much in agreement with what Sherman said. The only thing I'd add is that Collison is a lot quicker than Perkins, and he's not as inconsistent as Ibaka. Those two combined reasons are why I'd leave him on the floor in this series.|
||Nick Collison's grade is more of an 'incomplete' than anything else, and his lack of minutes in Game 2 is baffling given how well he played in Game 1, where he finished with 8 points and 10 boards. Collison may not be as athletic as Ibaka or as strong as Perkins, but his is a superior position defender, and that type of defense plays dividends when the Heat ball handlers are going to get to the rim regardless. It is more important to be able to steer them into the heart of the defense rather than try to block their shots.|